Disgrace - Chapter 15
The intrusive voice became silent and Thranduil opened his eyes on the elves around him.
`- Gaelen, take a well-armed company on horse-back. Take two extra horses with you and ride down the forest path till you meet Brunwen. Go now. `
Gaelen bowed and hurried out of the room. Thranduil then turned to the generals and stared at them for a few moments.
`- Since you are so eager to have Khelekiâ join us, you will be thrown over the battlements, tied and bound. I do not know if you will survive it but if you do, I hope that Khelekiâ will punish you for failing him.'
The generals were escorted out of the room.
Gaelen's company left the elven fortress. The air was tensed and vibrant with a strange power. They galloped out and no Moriquendi arrows flew out at them. Nothing...
Strange, thought Gaelen. Someone should have tried to attack us by now
He became increasingly puzzled as they rode down the Forest Path. The path also seemed enveloped in the strange powerful mesh. No living thing seemed to be even near the path, except them.
The horses seemed more nervous than usual and the five elves with Gaelen were extremely tense as well.
Everything was being tormented, penetrated, surrounded by a deadly shield. Nothing stirred except the wildly galloping horses. The very speed of the horses seemed to gather itself up and onwards, faster and faster till the trees blurred and the semi-darkness became dark.
They had reached the forest river soon after Brunwen had spoken to her father. She had sat down on the new wooden bridge and focused her mind on the path. Beron sat down as well and started a fire on the ground by the bridge.
Brunwen's eyes were wide and glazed over. She was starring along the path and focusing all herself on it. Almost as soon as she had, the powerful shield had enveloped the path. Her mind controlled all that was on the path and all that tried to go on to it.
The princess sensed the horses, the elves and Gaelen. They were entering the path. She allowed it. They were galloping now but much too slow. Her face tensed and focused, her eyes narrowed. They were moving faster now. Much better... The galloping hooves echoed in her mind, louder and louder. Soon Beron heard the hooves echoing, pounding the turf of the forest path.
The elven horses and their riders were still beyond the woodman's sight but Brunwen's keen eyes clearly could see the small company. They arrived soon within both their sight and Beron stood in amazement. The very speed of the horses astonished him and the elves appeared like lights in the gloom of the murky forest.
The horses stopped before the bridge in a cloud of dust. The elves swung down and Galen ran directly to Brunwen. Her white face was still fixed on the path and her eyes were as yet glazed over.
Gaelen touched her shoulder and she looked at him brusquely. Her eyes focused slowly and she spoke in a strangely quiet tone.
"-You have come. Shall we leave before the path becomes dangerous again?
- Dangerous? How did... What happened?
- You don't need to know. All you need to know is that we must go now."
Gaelen stood and helped the princess to her feet. Beron stood silent, scared, confused, overwhelmed and unnoticed. He watched as the elves all got into their saddles. The horses snorted and were ready to leave. They would not stand still long.
Brunwen turned and her eyes looked sharply into his own. He wasn't forgotten. He swung on to the last horse and he barely sat down in the saddle and the horses galloped. The rush of the air flowed past, pulling at his hair and his clothes. The whole world was moving with such speed. He was at the tail end of the company of elves and he could see the strange glow, radiance they were encircled by. Even Brunwen was radiating pure elfin beauty... He had not noticed that before.
The shield encompassing the path was still strong. Beron could sense the shield still there but it was weakening. Brunwen wasn't feeding the shield with her mind and so it was going to fail all too soon. The horses' speed had also been fed by her mind and that would fade too.
Beron sensed a threat competing with Brunwen's shield. He could easily guess who was trying to break down the barrier that was protecting them.
Khelekiâ's Moriquendi had camped not far from the walls of the Mirkwood palace. They had posted guards all around. A black tent occupied a central position and in it, Khelekiâ Morgoth was seated on a stool.
He had been feeling more and more threatened in the last day. His mind's eye was roving over the surrounding forest, looking for the power threatening his domination of Mirkwood and Thranduil.
His army had regrouped and had laid camp a little ways from their `prey'. The captains couldn't explain what had went wrong and had all gone back to their tents with unbearable headaches. However they all knew that two generals might get much worse should they show up.
Khelekiâ Morgoth suddenly sensed the shield go up around the path. He knew then. He knew who was coming.
And now fear was coursing through each and every vein in his body.
Hopefully the story is now drawing towards an end and I shall try to finish the last few chapters as soon possible. Please be patient.
I will probably re-write the story once it is completed and try to improve it. I may well post that too if I manage to finish re-writing as well.
Please do read and review.